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Gerald Gordon

Gerald Gordon & “Showdown at Twin Bluffs”

HELLO AMERICA! -- It makes my day when I receive notice that my old buddy, director, producer GERALD GORDON has come up with yet another Tinsel Town winner in making it difficult to leave the theater. His SHAZAM offering, a few years ago, proved that he was not only adept at keeping us riveted to our seats watching one of his theater drama works, but his genius explodes loud and clear creating comedy. This is why I was intrigued when hearing about his latest project SHOWDOWN AT TWIN BLUFFS. When asking him about the film, he began to laugh as if he had discovered another planet or something, one, of course, which would be easily conducive for inexpensive location shooting. "Michael," he shouted in his best director's voice, "I'm more excited about this film than anything I've done through the years! It's a musical that pokes fun at almost everything in the form of a musical comedy. It will take the audience to the edge; it will keep them laughing even after they leave the theater. Most of the films today deal with horror or some kind of survival challenge or tragedy. Sure, there is a place for these films, but it's important to remember that films which allow people to laugh, especially at themselves because they identify with some of the outrageous predicaments a character finds him or herself in, is extremely gratifying. Why do you think so many millions of people, especially women loved sitting for hours watching a beautiful love story, one in which they felt they understood the experience of the leading lady? And when the film concluded and their star survives her emotionally-stressed ordeal, they felt justified in exiting the theater feeling some kind of vindication themselves. Again, it's the magic of film-story-telling. And the same with laughter, comedy and when the dimension of music is added to the whole, the experience of being glued to those giant size images on the screen is something quite humanly extraordinary."

Gerald Gordon nominated for the Tony’s inaugural "EXCELLENCE IN THEATRE EDUCATION

AWARD!”

Congratulations, someone has nominated you for the inaugural EXCELLENCE IN THEATRE EDUCATION AWARD. The Tony Awards® and Carnegie Mellon University are proud to present this brand new honor, established to celebrate the educators who transform lives through the power of the arts.  The special award will be given to one deserving teacher at the 2015 Tony Awards Ceremony on June 7, 2015. The recipient will also receive a $10,000 cash prize for his or her school, a flight for two to New York City, hotel accommodations and a pair of tickets to the Tony Awards Ceremony and Gala. Additionally, a select number of finalists will each receive $1,000 for their schools, a flight for one to New York City, hotel accommodations and one ticket to the Tony Awards Nominee Luncheon. For information on the award, please click here. Gerald Gordon responded by saying: “I think I have been teaching all my life though I never started out to be a teacher.  It was something that just came naturally.  Teaching how to find your character and be believable so that you can take your audiences on amazing trips, you are helping to create art, real theater and this has given me untold pleasure.  Without the actor breathing life into what has been written, it’s not art yet but with the actor – it is beautiful art and things can live and be cherished and be added to the culture of the world. Just being able to help a person find out how to bring all forms of life to a reality has brought me so much joy.  I see it in so very many of my former students such as Adrien Brody with his Oscar or directing some 200 stage shows over the past 50 years – certainly directing is a form of teaching. Then being able to teach some 12,000 students in all these years and oh what I have learned from that giving me a constant supply of information to keep passing on to others.  This nomination is such a humbling experience but such a joyous recognition of “Hey – maybe I’ve done some good”.  That’s great!”

Gerald Gordon's "Shazam And The Lost Path" WINS the Golden Reel Award at the Nevada Film

Festival! December 7, 2013

Gerald Gordon's film, "Shazam And The Lost Path" was selected as a Golden Reel Award Winner at the 2013 Nevada Film Festival. The judges felt that Gordon's film demonstrated standout film making deserving of special recognition.

Gerald Gordon's "Shazam And The Lost Path" Posted by Michael St John

Dec 30, 2012

HELLO AMERICA!  -- Director, writer, producer Gerald Gordon is very excited about his latest film "Shazam and the Lost Path." It has "Tarzan" and all of his muscle buddies who will keep you laughing the whole time watching the film. When asked why this kind of motion picture, Gordon answered, "I love Mel Brooks and how he makes an audience laugh, and it’s why I believe people look forward to viewing what he does as an actor, writer, director or producer. MSJ: Your body of work has been enormous through the years. What made you lean towards this kind of film? GG: Well, I’ll give you some background. The score has been written by Bruce Buckingham, a long time close friend and employee. He was the piano conductor for a number of my past projects: the west coast premiere of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" starring "Citizen Kane’s" leading lady Ruth Warrick; he wrote the film score for my film "So Long Blue Boy" that sits on a shelf in Hollywood because the producer wouldn’t pay the final fee to the lab CFI. Bruce led my orchestra and played at Mayfair Music Hall while I was artistic director. I love his work in this film. He also edited the "Shazam" film and we worked closely together. And it was tough at times because we had to work through SKYPE as he lives in Kent, Washington, and I’m here in Vegas. MSJ: Was the film something you had always wanted to do as a director? GG: No. The film came about totally unplanned. You see, I had taught an exceptional acting class with many students featured or starring players in the various Vegas strip shows. They wanted another class, a more advanced one and I said NO CLASS-I’M TIRED. Suddenly, one of the students, a leading player from Cirque’s show "O" said, "Then write us a film." I laughed and forgot about it. Then weeks later, I was watching TCM and there were three Tarzan films that day. I wasn’t feeling great so I reminisced about watching them when I was young kid. I began laughing, as they weren’t meant to be funny, but I just couldn’t believe how seriously I had taken them earlier in my life. The films always would depict black natives deep in the African wilderness, but possessing treasures of one kind or another. The white treasure hunters invading these areas in the hopes of getting some, if not all of the treasure. Then there always was a white man, a renegade who has made a deal with the "savages" to screw the white treasure hunters and get the goodies for himself. I then thought of my previous class that happened to have five or six African-Americans in it and thought, wouldn’t it be interesting if I made them the good guys and the white guys the "savages" so called. And since I had a British actor in the group, just to be different. I could make him the renegade that makes a deal with the chief of the white cannibals who is now desperately looking for something different than white meat and thus the plot was born. MSJ: Then "Shazam" is the Tarzan character? GG: Yes. He of course is brought in to help the underdog. I didn’t have a chimp to play "Cheeta," but I did have in the class the leading trapeze artist from Cirque’s MYSTERE show. I asked him if he could do front and back flips. Well, he did one right in front of me and that’s how "Meeta" was born. And that’s the film. MSJ: You took quite a chance casting a group of actors from a class, don’t you think? GG: I thought it would be fun to do a "little fun film with people I loved." And it was fun, and the class of 15 people turned into a company of 73. Naturally, there were problems raising the money as everyone had to be fed daily during the location shoot, costumes, props and I also needed two animals as well. I wanted a donkey which was the hardest thing to get without having to pay one thousand dollars a day, but we finally found one whose owner was happy with a bale of hay for "Elizabeth" the donkey. You see I was almost totally taken by Omar Sharif’s entrance in "Lawrence of Arabia" where David Lean, the director, has him appear way off in the distance on the horizon and Peter O’Toole sees this dot on the horizon and it takes eight minutes for Omar to finally come into focus riding proudly on his camel. I wanted to clone this, but I put Shazam on a burro and thus the line "Here comes Shazam riding in on his ass!" was born. And it was perfect to have the English guy utter those words. Gave it class and it still makes me laugh. I really am enjoying my film. I pray others will, also.

Articles

Producer/Director Acting Coach Writer Actor

NORM! VEGAS CONFIDENTIAL, Thursday, March, 2010

BROADWAY BOUND Local drama coach Gerald Gordon, whose teaching portfolio includes Oscar winner Adrien Brody, is hell-bent to make a splash on Broadway with a new musical called "Santo: A Priest in Purgatory."  Gordon, who will produce and direct the fall show, said the lead will be Italian tenor Alessandro Safina. It will be Safina's Broadway debut. He recently performed a concert in the Netherlands with Jose Carreras of The Three Tenors.  The composer was Bruce Buckingham, who is well-known in the Los Angeles music scene.  It is the story of a priest who falls in love with a member of his parish, is murdered by her boyfriend and is in purgatory awaiting the Lord's decision on whether he should be punished for breaking his vows to God and the church.  Full disclosure: Buckingham happens to be from my hometown, Terry, Mont.

GERALD GORDON RENAISSANCE MAN  Posted by Michael St. John on Mar 18, 2010

HOLLYWOOD - HELLO AMERICA! The name Gerald Gordon represents Tinseltown magic, no matter how you look at it.  I first became aware of his presence in 1964 when he signed me to appear in his Los Angeles production of "Finian's Rainbow." This man's determination, boundless energy and passion for a creative commitment were overwhelming forces.  It affected all of us in the show, as if struck by lightning. Without exaggeration, the impact of his direction was felt by every actor, singer and dancer in the show.  Gerald made you feel as if you could accomplish anything, if only you believed, and he made us do just that.It was soon obvious that Gordon was professionally adept and ready to handle any or every facet of direction and producing a major theatrical production. All one would have to do is review his eye-opening artistic background. Between 9 and 14 years of age, Gerald was a child prodigy on the piano. Later, he was urged to join a summer theatre group to star as a boy in a production of "Tomorrow the World."  This whetted his passion for acting. He had lead performances with the likes of Zero Mostel, Estelle Winwood, Tallulah Bankhead, Sam Jaffe, Richard Deacon, Blanche Yurka and Erik Rhodes.Eventually, his dedication to the arts became so intense, he founded his own theatre in Ithaca, N.Y., where he wore several hats of CEO, producer and director of the project. As a result, the Ithaca Youth Theatre, Inc. was born.The amazing Mr. Gordon eventually attended Cornell University, and graduated with a B.A. degree. He was named president of the Cornell Dramatic Club, following in the footsteps of legendary actors Franchot Tone, Adolph Menjou and John Ireland. He directed the acclaimed musical hit "Brigadoon," which was the first Broadway show produced by this drama organization, in the history at Cornell University.Gerald Gordon's arrival in Los Angeles was as if the town had been hit by an earthquake.  He immediately founded the famed Los Angeles Youth Theatre.  He produced and directed such shows as "Music Man," "Finian’s Rainbow," "Westside Story," "Amahl," "Night Visitors," "The Nutcracker Suite Ballet," "Stop the World I want to Get Off" and "Dark of the Moon." The town couldn't wait to hear what he might produce next; whatever he touched with his special magic, impacted every aspect of Hollywood life. His production of "The Fantasticks" ran for nearly five years and still holds the record for the longest running musical in the theatrical history of Los Angeles.In 1965 Gerald was artistic director for the famed Hollywood Center Theatre.  He headed the organization for the next 14 years.  He took the town by storm with his productions that included "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" starring "Citizen Kane" star Ruth Warrick.  In 1971, he directed a musical extravaganza for the United Crusades at the Los Angeles Music Center's Ahmanson Theatre, starring Bob Hope, Janis Paige and Ralph Bellamy.  The UCLA Marching Band and 800 other performers took part in the massive production. His versatility included being Artistic Director for the famed summer theatre  in Sacramento, Calif. for producers Lewis and Young's Music Circus, directing such famous stars as Jan Peerce, John Raitt and Van Johnson to mention a few.  Later, in Santa Monica, Calif., he became Artistic Director for the ailing Mayfair Music Hall where he turned their productions of Old English Music Hall into some of the most successful theatre events in Los Angeles for the next few years.Gerald Gordon's entertainment history is enormous, one that is impressive by any industry standard.  No matter what the project is, i.e., comedy, drama, musical, or directing a film, when the man puts his own special magic to it, something wonderful happens. In 2006, his short film "Happily After Forever" won the best short dramatic film in the New York Film and Video Festival.Working under the direction of Gerald Gordon was one of the highlights of my early career as an actor – an experience that influenced my artistic attitude for excellence. Because of his faith in my talents, my career as a writer, director (NBC), Broadway, film and television performer was possible.Thank you Mr. Gordon!

The View, ROLE PLAY, Actor turns  to teaching. Local helps aspiring performers By GINGER

MIKKELSEN VIEW STAFF WRITER Wednesday, August 13, 2003

A stint as Adrien Brody's acting teacher is Las Vegas resident Gerald Gordon's most recent claim to fame.  But grooming an Academy Award winner is only the latest chapter in Gordon's life, one that spans from summer stock and soap opera stardom to directing, teaching, and producing films and theater.  The Ithaca, N.Y. born, Gordon spent his youth as a concert pianist. He played from age 9 to 14 under the tutelage of famed New York piano teacher Charles Gordon Watkins.  At 13, Gordon was discovered by a play producer who put him in a production of 'Tomorrow the World.'  Gordon's folks were so shocked to see their 'nice Jewish son' play the part of a 'mean Nazi boy' that they got up and walked out of the premiere.  Still the acting bug stuck and Gordon gave up the piano to join a summer stock company. His first season, he worked alongside Zero Mostel, Edward G. Robinson, Sam Jaffe, Richard Decon and Estelle Winwood  'Zero Mostel drank a lot, and he'd hand me a fist full of money and send me out for hamburgers with lots of onions,' Gordon said. 'When I came back, he'd tell me to keep the change.'

NORM! VEGAS CONFIDENTIAL, Tuesday, August 8, 2006

KATRINA LONCARIC LANDS FIRST BROADWAY SHOW! Katrina Loncaric of Las Vegas has landed in her first Broadway show. She will cover the role of Ulla in 'The Producers,' which was played by Uma Thurman in the 2005 film. Loncaric also will be a member of the ensemble. She has been taking classes from local drama coach Gerald Gordon, whose students include Oscar winner Adrien Brody, Tony nominees Marcia Lewis and Walter Willison and Emmy nominee Andrew Lauer.

NORM! VEGAS CONFIDENTIAL, Sunday, December 11, 2005

HE HAS A WINNER Las Vegan Gerald Gordon won best romantic drama for his short film 'Happily After Forever' at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. Gordon, whom we've mentioned before here as a drama teacher for Adrien Brody, shot the 32-minute film in Las Vegas. The story line: 'Man and woman meet, fall in love, marry, discover they don't. think they have anything in common, divorce, but eventually they discover that what they were looking for they already had in each other, remarry, have a child and live happily after forever.' He spotted his perfect lady in a Broadway show a year ago, met her after the show and offered her the lead in the film. Barbara Ann Rollins won best actress in a short at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Life-Shaking Changes, Las Vegas Style, June 2001

The LA earthquake of 1994 shook up Gerald Gordon's life in more ways than one. What matters most for the purposes of this account is that it got the veteran director and acting coach to Las Vegas where he discovered a rich vein of opportunity in the 'entertainment capital of the world.' But first things first - Enough is enough, he remembers grumbling after the Northridge quake that wrecked his home and peace of mind in about that order There's gotta be something better out there, he decided. Yeah, but where? A couple years before the life-changing experience of the Northridge quake, he had been interviewed by a Las Vegas-based representative for the state film office who was writing a book. Gordon was happy to cooperate The long and the short of it was a suggestion from the writer that Gordon should consider a move to Southern Nevada where, he was assured, someone with his credentials could do very well. Chamber of Commerce types had spent years hyping Las Vegas as the 'entertainment capital of the world,' usually doing it with art earnestness that outsiders occasionally found hard to accept. Las Vegas was largely viewed for years by cutting edge thinkers in the entertainment community as something of a retirement home for members of the over the hill gang. Gordon knew this. But by the early 1990s, there was much hard evidence of change. The momentum, has picked up] during recent years. Las Vegas as a travel and entertainment destination has become much more than the world's best known gambling town.. There is more work than ever for performers. Las Vegas had also caught the attention the film community as an attractive location for a variety of productions - everything from commercials to major films. Gordon's first reaction to the suggestion he relocate to Las Vegas was to laugh it off. Wasn't Las Vegas known as a place where people would do anything to earn fifty bucks a day as a movie extra. These were not exactly the serious actors with whom Gordon was accustomed to working. A half-dozen years after the move from California Gordon is happy to admit he was wrong. His acting school has put its stamp on the ambitions of more than 200 men and women, people who came to Gordon fueled by the same hopes and fantasies that have been bringing young performers to Hollywood for years. One thing Gordon's certain of at this point: Las Vegas has no shortage of good talent, even brilliant talent, men and women anxious to give themselves to the sort of direction and teaching that can turn skilled amateurs and largely untrained performers into a people with a professional edge on their talents. There are certain points that Gordon finds himself making them again and again. 'People who say they want to be stars, anyone who comes to me saying I want to be a star, I don't touch. Stars are one in a million. I had a woman come to me recently. She was decked out in diamonds and expensive clothes. She said she want- ed to be a star. I told her she looked like she could probably finance her own movie. Why didn't she go be a star that way.' The woman was not happy, but Gordon also points out that getting his job done does not always have a lot to do with making people happy. What does he look for in a student? 'The hardest part about being an actor is getting rid of yourself. As adults we have been taught how to not show our feelings, how to act super cool, to be something other than what you feel so that you become fully capable of being whatever a role requires you to be... I look for people who know how to listen and take direction. If you do not know how to hear then you cannot adequately respond.' Gordon says that in the younger men and women coming to him he looks for a charisma, a certain magic that makes people want to look at them.' Gordon is the former resident director for the Sacramento Music Circus, the artistic director of the Mayfair Music Hall in Santa Monica and the managing artistic director for 14 years at the Hollywood Center which is now known as the Richard Pryor Theatre. He has directed more than 200 stage shows and his production of The Fantasticks still holds the record for the longest running musical in Los Angeles theatre history. As an actor during the 1950s and 1960s, he appeared on almost every major television show originating from both coasts. His credits include running roles on The Edge of Night, As The World Turns as well as roles on such past shows as Playhouse 90, Studio One, Matinee Theatre, Kraft Playhouse and numerous others. In his Hollywood Center Theatre, he was the first person allowed to showcase professional talent and has long been considered the father of the Equity Waiver Theatre movement in Los Angeles which is now so prevalent. And what may matter most to prospective students, by one recent count he had more former students than be could count on the fingers of both hands working on various daytime and nighttime television shows.

Gerald Gordon Believes in Youth TRIBUNE/ADVERTISER - A Citizen News Publication, Thursday,

March 12, 1964

His eyes shine with enthusiasm and his works carry the mark of it, and thus 29 year old Gerald Gordon goes down in my book as a young man who is not only worthy of the highest praise but who is an idealist worth watching. A person whose dedication to promoting good theater lights up the sky and whose belief in today's youth is wonderfully encouraging. 'Get the kids interested in theater and you'll keep them off the streets where a career of delinquency ofttimes awaits them,' says the handsome Gerald, founder of the Los Angeles Youth Theater, a nonprofit, nonsalaried group open to teenagers from 15 to 21. And get them off the streets - Gerald does - 800 at one time, in fact.